Bridges old and new

House of Refuge Toronto 1860sOld and new Bridgepoint

London Bridge is broken down,
 Broken down, broken down.


London Bridge is broken down,
 My fair lady.



 

Build it up with wood and clay,
 Wood and clay, wood and clay,


Build it up with wood and clay, My fair lady.



 

Wood and clay will wash away,
Wash away, wash away,


Wood and clay will wash away,
 My fair lady.



 

Build it up with bricks and mortar, 
Bricks and mortar, bricks and mortar,


Build it up with bricks and mortar,
 My fair lady.



 

Bricks and mortar will not stay,
Will not stay, will not stay,


Bricks and mortar will not stay, My fair lady.


 

Build it up with iron and steel, Iron and steel, iron and steel,


Build it up with iron and steel,
My fair lady.

 



Iron and steel will bend and bow, Bend and bow, bend and bow,


Iron and steel will bend and bow,
 My fair lady.



 

Build it up with silver and gold,
Silver and gold, silver and gold,


Build it up with silver and gold,
 My fair lady.



 

Silver and gold will be stolen away,
Stolen away, stolen away,


Silver and gold will be stolen away,
 My fair lady.



 

Set a man to watch all night,
Watch all night, watch all night,


Set a man to watch all night, My fair lady.



 

Suppose the man should fall asleep, Fall asleep, fall asleep,


Suppose the man should fall asleep? My fair lady.



 

Give him a pipe to smoke all night,
 Smoke all night, smoke all night,


Give him a pipe to smoke all night, My fair lady.

 

Photo on left: House of Refuge, Toronto 1860s;

on right, view of old and new Bridgepoint hospitals from the Bloor Danforth viaduct copyright Jenifer Sutherland 2013.

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2 thoughts on “Bridges old and new

  1. We read something when we’re nine, then nineteen, then twenty-nine . . . on and on . . . while noticing how the poem, the passage, the book keeps changing. How is that? How is it that the nursery rhyme you posted here could ring profound? Is the reading more stark and clear without hearing its melodic tune? Tonight I read it with a metaphorical overlay of thought about this world as we discuss how to repair, restore, build, guard and envision it.

    • Thank you, Marso.

      This is how it occured to me. Build it up with gold and silver. And we do that, don’t we. And we give the keeper a pipe to smoke, and yet, we worry still that it will fall, because it will, if we don’t attend, constantly and attentively to what we want it to be made out of.

      Happy winter solstice–or at least–happy reflections.

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